World number six Alexander Zverev will take on Japanese player and 43rd-ranked Kei Nishikori in the second round of the 2021 Madrid Open on Wednesday, May 5. Get the live streaming options of this Alexander Zverev v Kei Nishikori match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Alexander Zverev v Kei Nishikori Head to Head
There have been three previous encounters between these two players and Zverev leads 2-1 with both of his wins having come on hard court surfaces. Interestingly both those victories came at the Washington Open – in 2017 and 2018. Nishikori’s only victory was hosted on the clay court of the 2018 Monte-Carlo Masters.
Zverev 2-3 Since Acapulco Win
Zverev was on bit of a high when he registered a straight-set win over arch-rival Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Acapulco Open, winning his first title of the season in the process. Since then, however, his form has taken bit of a beating and he will be looking at this competition to get back into the reckoning for Roland-Garros.
What would have been bit of a bummer for Zverev is his performances on clay, especially one at home.
After falling to David Goffin in the third round of Monte-Carlo Masters, Zverev went on to crash out at the Munich Open quarterfinals, losing to the little-known Ilya Ivashka. That Zverev lost after pouching the first set makes it stranger.
He would know Nishikori is a difficult opponent on this surface despite being on a comeback trail of his own and the German will need to come up with some solid goods to get past the Japanese player.
Nishikori Tames Khachanov
Some might argue he is back to his best but even if he is not, Nishikori is playing to a level which should give him a lot of confidence coming into this encounter. His performance at the Barcelona Open had him reach third round before he fell to Rafael Nadal in a three-setter.
And he has now begun his Madrid campaign with a win over Karen Khachanov.
Truth be told, despite being ranked higher than Nishikori, Khachanov hadn’t quite gone into the match as a favourite but for the Japanese player to return from a set down to register a win would have pleased him no end.
Both players were a break up at some stage in the first set but dropped serve in the very next game before Khachanov first missed a set-point on his opponent’s serve and then won a gruelling tie-breaker after saving two set-points.
Undeterred, Nishikori broke his opponent early in the second set and then for the second time to carve out an equaliser. He then repeated the dose by breaking Khachanov in the fourth and eighth game to clinch the match in three.
Zverev v Nishikori Prediction and Tip
It isn’t much of a surprise Zverev starts a favourite but does 1/2 do justice to his chances? We believe he might have had a tough initiation to clay this season but the German should clinch this one.